Zimbabwe’s former First Lady, Grace Mugabe, was a ghost student who obtained a PhD at the University of Zimbabwe without the knowledge of the academic board, says a senior staffer in the Department of Sociology.
According to the state-controlled Herald newspaper, Dr. Watch Ruparanganda, who is a witness in the trial of suspended University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura, told a Harare court that she was not aware of a student named Grace Ntombizodwa Mugabe that was enrolled for PhD studies.
Dr. Ruparanganda, who was chairperson of the Department of Sociology when Mrs. Mugabe got her PhD, expressed discontent over the manner she was awarded the degree as the ‘student’ was unknown to staffers.
He is quoted as saying “some of the duties of my board was to ensure that the enrolment of the students is in accordance with the regulations. I don’t even know Grace Mugabe and even if she was here she wouldn’t have known me, she just appeared from nowhere, and it was through grapevine that I heard that she was graduating with a PHD degree.
“As the board, we were supposed to have known her qualifications to avoid enrolling standard six students. Mugabe was supposed to have seen me as the chairman like what other candidates like Thokozani Khupe did.”
Dr. Ruparangada claimed that Professor Nyagura chose his unqualified friend to supervise Mrs. Mugabe. He described her as a ghost student.
Mrs. Mugabe’s lawyers were unreachable for comment as they were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.